In the journals: Research finds that many older people can't get up from a fall
About 35% of people over age 65 fall in their homes at least once each year. That figure increases to 50% for those ages 75 and over. We have less information on falls among people over age 85, who are mostly women and now make up the fastest-growing segment of the elderly population. But one study of women and men ages 91 to 105 found that about 60% had at least one fall in the course of a year.
Most of the resulting injuries are minor, but falls can also cause major lacerations, fractures, head trauma, and other injuries that may lead to hospitalization, disability, nursing home care, and premature death. Falls also have psychological consequences. Fear of falling and an associated general loss of confidence can result in depression, isolation, and a decline in physical function caused by lack of activity.
How to get up from a fall by yourself
Not surprisingly, there has been considerable research on how to prevent falls in older people. Recommended preventive strategies include strength training and balance work, vision checks, medication review, and home modifications. But there is no way to prevent all falls, so it's important to limit their complications. A major source of complications is lying on the floor for a long time afterward, a risk that increases with age and declining muscle function. For older people in particular, it can result in pneumonia, pressure sores, dehydration, hypothermia, and even death.